Through what Washington football has released from their recent scrimmages, the defense has gotten the better of the offense. What’s their ceiling?
Washington football has been holding scrimmages on Saturdays to get ready for the upcoming season, and with low scoring games as a result, some fans have taken to Twitter with concerns over the new offense. But could it be that the Husky defense is fiercer than its ever been?
This is arguably the most talented defense the staff has ever seen, even without Levi Onwuzurike and Joe Tryon after their declarations for the NFL Draft. There was young talent ready to shine behind both guys, and they’ll be ready to step into a bigger role this season. Tuli Letuligasenoa has been waiting in the wings for two years behind Onwuzurike, and was already primed to step into a break out this season, but now he’ll get a chance to establish himself as one of the best defensive tackles in the Pac-12. With the way defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski likes to rotate his interior linemen, Letuligasenoa isn’t the only highly touted prospect who’s primed to see an increase in snaps. Redshirt freshmen Jacob Bandes and Faatui Tuitele will get a chance to showcase their strengths in a larger role, and expect to see Noa Ngalu as well after Sama Paama retired from football earlier this year.
On the outside, Joe Tryon is a tough piece to replace, but there’s talent ready to fill his shoes. The biggest increase in snaps will probably go to sophomore Laiatu Latu. The uber-athletic edge rusher is going to find himself in a lot of one on one scenarios with offensive tackles, and with tons of natural power and an arsenal of advanced pass rush moves, he should win those battles more often than not. Along with Latu, Zion Tupuola-Fetui is another exciting player who should have an impact on the edge. With insane athleticism at 280 pounds, he might end up being more of an edge setter behind Ryan Bowman, but ZTF will still get some snaps as a pass rusher. And you can’t forget five-star Sav’ell Smalls, who will surely get a chance to shine early on in his first year on Montlake.
Combining this talented defensive line, with a group of young inside linebackers who have a chance to make a big impact, and the Huskies should have a very stout front seven. Between Edefuan Ulofoshio, Jackson Sirmon, along with redshirt freshmen Josh Calvert and Daniel Heimuli, this is without a doubt the defense’s biggest question mark. Calvert and Heimuli were both four-star prospects out of high school, and they’ll probably see more than their fair share of snaps.
In the secondary, Husky fans are going to see a lot of familiar faces, as Jimmy Lake’s pride and joy is returning five starters from the 2019 season. That group only allowed 190.1 passing yards per game last season, which was second only to Cal. Expect more of the same from the always stout secondary, maybe even more, as we should see expanded roles for budding stars Kyler Gordon, Julius Irvin, and Dominique Hampton.
While talent is a big part of what makes this great defense, coaching is what truly sets them apart. Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski is the best in the business, and knows exactly how to scheme a perfect gameplan against every kind of offense. This defense is ready for another monster campaign with Kwiatkowski calling the plays, and it shouldn’t be a surprise if the Huskies finish the year among the nation’s best in all defensive categories.